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A month of prayer

May we be mindful in a special way, in this season of All Saints and All Souls, of those who have perished due to COVID-19, climate change, abortion, euthanasia, terrorism, capital punishment, armed conflict, and related forces that stem from injustice and brokenness. May our prayers for collective peace and healing unite with similar petitions uttered around the globe as we continue to navigate the pandemic. And may our work for safe, fair, and free elections be realized here in the United States this week. 
Election returns and continued civic engagement 

Clergy, faith, and academic leaders who have journeyed with their respective ministry communities this election season may find themselves facing unprecedented questions. When will the election anxiety conclude? How do we wait in the unknowing? How do we proceed with generosity and kindness if the results do not come back the way that we anticipated? Where do we go from here? 

Several collaborators have material that might be useful for your consideration. Pax Christi USA shared a reflection by Bishop John Stowe, OFM Conv on Wednesday that concludes with the charge “to be instruments of healing for all who have been excluded and do not have the luxury of waiting.” 

The Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns has compiled a list of prayers, virtual events, and other resources here. The USCCB’s Civilize It campaign includes a social media pledge, an examination of conscience, and pastoral aids here
Webinar: Writing to Contribute to Civic Dialogue

Even when election results are certified, we will still face a polarized country and challenges of poverty, racism, and public health. The voices and concerns of the most vulnerable will still need amplification.

To assist our members and collaborators in this work, the CMSM Justice and Peace office is offering a webinar with Kim Daniels, associate director of the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life at Georgetown University, Writing Editorials and Opinion Pieces to Contribute to Civic Dialogue, on Nov. 17, 2 p.m. Register now to learn the basics of writing a strong, informed, and focused message the purpose of educating or activating the public. 
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Decrease in Refugee Admissions

On Oct. 28, President Trump set the Presidential Determination (PD) for refugee admissions into the United States for the 2021 Fiscal Year. From 1980-2016, the average annual goal was 95,000. This figure has crept lower and lower in the years since and 2021 sees a new low of only 15,000 refugees to be permitted entry. At this time the breakdown of allocations are:

  • 1,000 for refugees from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras
  • 4,000 for Iraqi refugees allied with the United States
  • 5,000 for refugees fleeing religious persecution
  • 5,000 for all other refugees around the world

In partnership with its affiliates, the USCCB's Migration Relief Services has historically resettled approximately 30% of the refugees that arrive in the U.S. each year. The Catholic refugee resettlement network involves over 100 diocesan offices across the country and in Guam and Puerto Rico.

The Justice for Immigrants campaign put together an FAQ sheet on the presidential determination figure that you can view on the USCCB website.

Webinar on the Election and Immigration Policy

In addition, JFI will offer a webinar, The Big Picture: What does the Election Mean for Immigration Policy?, on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2 p.m. ET, with insights on the results of the election and what it might mean for immigration advocacy and programs going forward. Speakers include Ashley Feasley, USCCB/MRS; Theresa Cardinal Brown, Bipartisan Policy Center; Carlos Guevara, UnidosUS; and Jacinta Ma, National Immigration Forum. Click here to register. 
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Sharing Our Histories and Our Stories
Nov. 9 | 7-8:30 p.m. CST

The Catholic Theological Union is offering a three-part series, with the Center for the Study of Consecrated Life and the National Black Sisters’ Conference, intended to begin a conversation about the role of religious life in addressing and dismantling racial injustice.

Session 1 will address the journey of persons of color who entered predominantly Euro-centric congregations; in particular, their experiences of religious life, Church and society. The panelists are Sr. Anita Baird, DHM; Sr. Desiré Findlay, CSSF; Br. Ernest Miller, FSC; Fr. Jeffrey Ott, OP; Sr. Melinda Pellerin, SSJ; and Fr. Michael Thompson, SSJ. See the details for the full series, A Call to Transformative Love in Religious Life: Stories of Race, Place and Grace, here or, if you just want to register for all three sessions, click here.
Wed., Nov. 11, 6-7:30 p.m.

The Lepage Center for History in the Public Interest at Villanova University is sponsoring a series titled “Decolonizing History” that asks questions about how history is written, taught, and understood. The series will challenge how historical knowledge is produced and offer diverse and inclusive ways to study and interpret the past. The next offering looks at religious life.

How does the lived experiences of Black Catholic sisters challenge and revise dominant narratives of the U.S. Catholic experience? Dr. Shannen Dee Williams will examine the largely hidden history of anti-black racism in female religious life and chart the struggle to the nation’s historically white and white ethnic sisterhoods. Williams is an historian of the African American experience with research and teaching specializations in women’s, religious, and black freedom movement history. She is the author of an upcoming book, Subversive Habits: Black Catholic Nuns in the Long African American Freedom Struggle. Click here to register. See related workshops and videos from the Lepage Center here.
The Religious Formation Conference (RFC) is offering two programs for men and women religious that address the COVID-19 public health crisis and racism.

Fear, Faith, and Religious Life in the Context of Global Crisis

Join Fr. Daniel Horan, OFM, for a Zoom conversation on Sunday, Nov. 15, 2-3:30 p.m. ET. This virtual gathering is free, though advance registration is required. Click here to register.

Breaking the Silence: Dialogue on Racism

This session will focus on how formators can address the topic of racism with those they are accompanying. Dialogue partners include Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur Patricia Chappell and Anne-Louise Nadeau. The session will take place Thursday, Nov. 19, 2-3:30 p.m. ET, via Zoom. This event is free, though advance registration is required. Click here to register.
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We are posting homily resources as we receive them at

Bethany Welch, Ph.D., CMSM Fellow for Justice and Peace
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